Implementation of the NBSAP
St. Vincent and the Grenadines developed its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) in 2000, to guide implementation of the Convention in the country by systematically addressing what were regarded as main threats and key priority areas for action. The Plan’s objectives were to: develop and articulate a National Biodiversity Policy which fosters the sustainable use of biological resources and the maintenance of biodiversity; integrate biodiversity conservation into national planning processes; encourage integrated natural resource management techniques with emphasis given to developing practical and cost-effective measures for the preservation of natural habitats; rationalize land use allocation and encourage sectoral and regional planning for human settlements; create conditions and incentives for effective conservation at both the national and local levels; strengthen the human capacity for conserving and using biodiversity sustainably. The document also contained 8 priority areas for action.
Activities are currently underway to revise the NBSAP and, with a view to exploiting synergies, are being conducted in parallel with the process of revising the UNCCD National Action Programme (NAP).
Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets
An ecological GAP analysis for the Protected Area System was conducted in 2006 by members of the National Implementation Support Partnership with technical assistance from The Nature Conservancy. The analysis determined the “representativeness” of the current system and identified actions that could be taken to ensure better representation of biodiversity in protected areas. Through the Grenadines Marine Resource Space-use Information System (MarSIS) project implemented by the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), and the Sustainable Grenadines Project, information on marine space-use in the Grenada Bank, upon which the Grenadine islands sit, has been compiled that can be used to identify areas for special management attention such as: critical habitats; representative marine ecosystems, areas of high aesthetic value and cultural importance; areas important for livelihoods, fishing grounds and marine-based tourism; and areas of highest human threat and space use conflict.
Several species have been legally protected using total bans, quotas, closed seasons, size, weight and gear restrictions and trade restrictions. Protected species include the St. Vincent Parrot, the armadillo, the Caribbean Spiny Lobster, the Humback Whale and all species of corals. The Draft Fisheries Management Plan also outlines specific management objectives and strategies for species in the following fisheries: coastal pelagics, large pelagics, shallow-shelf and reef fishes, deep-slope fishes, lobster and conch. Targets to improve the status of agricultural crops threatened by invasive species are included in the work plan of the Ministry of Agriculture. These targets fall under various programmes, including the Mango Seed Weevil Eradication Programme and the Pink Mealy Bug Eradication/Control Programme. In order to conserve the genetic diversity of species important to agriculture, the Agriculture Department has established 3 germplasm plots.
Environmental Impact Assessments are effective in the country. However, the requirements are not explicit regarding the biodiversity assessment component. Strategic Environmental Assessments are also expected to make their way into current planning practices with the enactment of the draft Environmental Management Act (2009), which has provisions for Strategic Environmental Assessment.
To reduce the unsustainable consumption of biological resources, the Government is promoting sustainable livelihoods, the development of value-added products from unutilized or underutilized species, a transition from harvesting near-shore fisheries resources to those with lower harvesting pressures such as deep slope species, the development and use of selective fishing gear that minimize by-catch, and forest patrols. Finally, the Integrated Forest Management and Development Programme was established in 2003 to address deforestation and illegal forestry activities. Capacity-strengthening initiatives are also central to the Sustainable Grenadines project, which aims to equip local communities with the tools to sustainably use and manage their resources.
Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)
The recently created National Environmental Commission is a multi-stakeholder committee which functions as the primary mechanism for facilitating the effective integration of environmental and sustainable development considerations into economic and social development planning and decision-making in the country. In addition, the Environmental Management Department coordinates the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and inter-agency collaboration in environmental management.
The plans of the forestry sector include aspects of forest biodiversity protection and wildlife management; promotion of sustainable utilization of forest resources; public education and awareness; and community participation in forest management. In the tourism sector, a more systematic approach has been the development and strengthening of a comprehensive system of protected areas and heritage sites. Capacity building of community-based organisations to undertake site management is also an integral part of the tourism development plan. The policy framework of the fisheries sector comprehensively addresses what are regarded as the key threats to the sustainability of the fisheries sector, particularly over-exploitation. The protection and restoration of endangered species, maintenance and restoration of populations to maximum sustainable yield capacities (taking into consideration relationships among species), as well as effective monitoring and enforcement regarding fishing activities, are important policy objectives to the sector. Similarly, the policies of the agricultural sector have focussed on diversification of banana in order to improve food security and to improve export earnings. Affordability of produce and environmental sustainability are important objectives within the agricultural policy framework.
Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation
No comprehensive monitoring measures have been established in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, however several small targeted inventories have been established by diverse institutions. Under the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, a biodiversity inventory and assessment were carried out for the Kingshill Forest Reserve through the implementation of the project on protecting the Eastern Caribbean Region’s biodiversity. The information collected is entered into a web-based database that is periodically updated with the help of the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. The Tobago Cays Marine Park regularly conducts inventories of the sea grass beds, fish, coral and marine vertebrates found within the Park. Regular assessments are also done on Mustique Island, organized by the Mustique Company. The Forestry Division conducts a by-annual Parrot Census as well as regular inventorying of the population of the endemic Black Snake and Endemic Frog. Bird Life International and Avian Eyes conduct inventories from time to time on important bird areas/species found in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.